Classic Steak Marinade

Classic steak marinade

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 3/4 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
89 Calories
9g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 89
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 586mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 18mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 63mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A high-quality steak doesn't need any help, as it's likely to have the right tenderness and a great percentage of marbling. But more budget-friendly tough cuts or very lean meats like flat-iron, skirt, or flank steak can benefit a lot from a good marinade and can become a delicious dish with the help of just a few ingredients, most of which you might already have in your pantry. When grilling a steak that's not of premium quality, marinades can help tenderize the meat while adding beautiful flavors. Our easy marinade makes for a juicy and succulent steak, and while it's great on beef, it's also wonderful on pork or chicken.

A wet marinade like this one should always have an acidic component, some oil, and lots of spices and additional flavors that can come from soy sauce, Dijon mustard, or Worcestershire sauce. But finding the balance between elements is key, as too much acid can penetrate the meat too fast and give it an unpleasant mushy texture. Too much oil can cause the crust to burn too fast, and too many spices can mask the beef flavor, leaving you with a cut that tastes nothing like meat. When experimenting with your own marinade, start slow and follow the "less is more" approach.

Our ingredients make enough marinade for 1 1/2 pounds of steak, but if you will be grilling more, simply double, triple, or quadruple the marinade ingredients. We recommend using resealable bags for marinating and allowing the mixture to marinate the meat in the refrigerator for at least 2 1/2 hours. Because marinades contain an acid, marinating should always be done in a glass, ceramic, stainless steel, or plastic container—never in aluminum because the acid will react with the metal and render an off taste to the food.


Click Play to See This Classic Steak Marinade Recipe Come Together


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, or avocado oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for classic steak marinade
    The Spruce
  2. Place red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and whisk together.

    Red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce
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  3. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly, until well combined.

    Whisking olive oil into vinegar and Worcestershire sauce
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  4. Add sea salt, oregano, pepper, thyme, onion powder, and minced garlic, and stir until well combined. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for at least 5 minutes before using. If using later in the day, place the marinade in the refrigerator. It can be kept for at least five days.

    Add spices
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Marinate and Cook Your Steak

  1. Place the steak of choice in a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over the top, massaging it into the meat and making sure all surfaces are coated well. 

    Put steak in resealable bag
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  2. Seal the bag, put it on a rimmed pan or in a shallow bowl to catch any escaping juices, and place it in the refrigerator for about 2 1/2 hours. 

    A bag with the marinating steak on a plate
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  3. Grill according to your preferred method. Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

    Fully marinated steak is ready to grill
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  4. Enjoy.

    Classic steak marinade with grilled steak

    The Spruce

How Long Should I Marinate the Meat?

Marinating time for beef depends on the cut and thickness. Most grilling meats can be marinated for 30 minutes to one hour to get good results—others need more time. If you want to add flavor, a short amount of time can cut it because the marinade isn't penetrating the inside of the meat, it's adding flavor to the outer part. However, if the goal is to tenderize the cut, too, longer periods of time might work best—around six hours and up to 18 hours in some cases.

Make Your Marinade a Basting Sauce

Discarding the marinade that has been in contact with raw meat is the safest food-safety advice you can follow. However, if you cook the marinade that was in contact with raw beef, you can actually use it as a serving sauce or a basting sauce. Simply boil the marinade for 15 to 20 minutes, taste after it's done cooking, and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Adding a tablespoon of butter and stirring it vigorously can make it a very flavorful sauce. Try fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, too.

Other Flavorful Ingredients

Here are some delicious suggestions for you to experiment with:

  • Use balsamic vinegar in place of red wine vinegar
  • Add teriyaki sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce.
  • Add lemon, orange, or lime zest for brightness.
  • Use whole black, red, or pink peppercorns instead of ground black pepper.
  • Use adobo sauce instead of Worcestershire, cilantro in place of fresh thyme, and some sliced jalapeños for a Mexican-inspired marinade.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon for a pungent touch.